Here, holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy tells us about a common health problem she’s seen in her practice and how she came to a solution.
The Client: Christina, 28, with a busy career in the banking industry.
The Problem: Christina had bad breath and tried to eliminate it by chewing gum, brushing her teeth obsessively and using mouthwash.
She was incredibly embarrassed about her bad breath because she had to speak to people all day long and no amount of gum chewing gave her breath a minty scent. In fact, her incessant gum chewing was likely making the problem worse (more on that later).
The most obvious factors that lead to a stinky mouth include: smoking, stress, meat, garlic, onions, dairy and poor dental hygiene. People who don’t floss may be harboring too much bad bacteria which essentially rots and as a byproduct, produces unpleasant smells (particularly from dairy and meat). Your mouth is home to over 600 different type of living bacteria, so the incessant mouthwasting can do more harm than good because it strips both the friendly and unfriendly bacteria away. If you’ve ruled out those creepy crawlies (mouth bacteria) because your dental hygiene would make a dentist jealous, then look deeper than the mouth.
Solutions and Remedies
Bad breath has many underlying causes in addition to the ones mentioned previously including: postnasal drip, too much unfriendly bacteria in the colon, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, diabetes, inadequate protein digestion, constipation causing build-up of toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and more. In Christina’s case, she complained of too much stress, ate meat regularly, drank lattes and ate cheese everyday and had digestive problems including bloating, constipation and gas.
These are the natural solutions I provided to Christina, based on my in-depth wellness evaluation of her current state of health and her diet.
- High-dose probiotic supplement with breakfast and dinner to replenish the gut with healthy bacteria. A too-low level of good bacteria will promote constipation and bad breath.
- Cut out dairy for four weeks. Dairy can promote constipation, is mucous-forming (promotes post-nasal drip), increases inflammation for many and taking a break from any food you chronically eat is extremely beneficial for the body as a whole. Food sensitivities and allergies can develop from a diet lacking in variety.
- Lemon and water every morning on an empty stomach and flaxseed tea every night before bed to aid in the elimination of toxins from the gut.
- A thorough review of Christina’s food journal uncovered that she ate too many processed foods. I encouraged her to eat more whole grains: quinoa, millet, kamut, spelt and less red meat (no more than once per week and only grass-fed organic beef).
- Tongue scraping every morning, especially if your tongue has a white film/coating like Christina’s. The tongue can hold hundreds of different bacteria, especially when you are dehydrated as saliva helps to wipe away bad bacteria. I suggested Christina pick up a tongue scraper and do it every single morning.
- Drink more water. Water aids in the elimination of toxins, keeps the colon hydrated and helps to promote saliva.
- Stress management: Practice yoga, breathe deeply for five minutes upon waking and before going to bed, writing down her feelings as an effective way to express them in a healthy manner (she was going through some relationship changes and was very angry and unsettled), work less and play more. Christina was a workaholic. I suggested she turn off her smartphone when she left work and on weekends.
Within just two weeks, Christina was not only feeling better but her breath was fresher. I advised her to continue with these recommendations and she was more than willing to adopt these changes for a healthier lifestyle overall.
Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. Co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well a 6-week nutrition & yoga course in Toronto.
Please note: All of these recipes are created in my joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. I’m not a calorie counter or a professional chef — I’m a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and I’m delighted to share my creations with you.